2021 Book: Toward Solving Complex Human Problems
Prologue
We hope this book will help all concerned to deepen our understanding of systems engineering (SE) and better prepare us for future SE endeavors. We endeavor to illuminate various kinds of complex systems (CSs) and suggest learning methods which better serve us in how to recognize CSs and engineer them more effectively. SE activity in System of Systems (SoS), Enterprise Systems Engineering (ESE), and Complex Systems Engineering (CSE) continues to increase. Admittedly, there is still some controversy as to how well conventional methods of SE are able to handle our most difficult CS problems, and whether new ways of “systems thinking” will help. We trust that many readers will agree that the answer to the latter portion of this issue is in the affirmative, especially after perusing this book.
Chapter 1 is essentially a tutorial, where we 1) review related definitions and terminology, 2) elaborate on defined systems and give examples of CS topics and problems as a lead in to CSE which is more the subject of Chapter 2.
As Chapter 2 reflects, the theory of Complex Adaptive Systems Engineering (CASE) is still evolving from learning about its practice. The chapter covers more about a number of topics (including complexity, CSs, and CSE) that purport to advance understanding in this field of endeavor. A couple of artifacts for characterizing SE environments and what is being done about it are provided. CSE principles to create mindsights that will accelerate progress in many application domains are presented. Finally, a cogent methodology for CSE is suggested. Chapter 2’s keywords include adaptivity, case studies, CSs, complexity, emergence, enterprises, SE, SoS, and systemigrams.
In Chapter 3 we assert that most profit-making companies and other enterprises could do better in devoting more resources toward solving important world problems without detracting significantly from their primary missions. Their leaders should endeavor to convince key stakeholders of the virtues of such actions and the associated public-relations benefits that could well lead to increased business. Leaders and managers should psychologically and materially reward their employees for volunteering their expertise and time appropriately, depending on particular humanitarian target goals. The chapter makes a case for these premises and shows how CASE and leadership and management principles can enable progress within various CS domains exhibiting critical situations where many constituents are demanding solutions. Keywords here include change management, CSE, moral leadership, resource allocation, and world problems.